Review: Heart of Darkness by Lauren Dane
Now I know why I added this to my list of books to read. Eleven years later, I finally made it to this book on my TBRpile. I need to read faster. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and immediately wanted to read the next book in the series. What is not to like about witches battling those who want to corrupt and steal their magic? To have a strong female coven leader go head to head with a newcomer that may enhance the coven's power, this sexual tension is spellbinding.
Meriel Owen comes from a long line of witches. She is trained from a very young age to take the leadership role once her mother retires. This powerhouse is confident in her own abilities and comfortable with her place in the world. When she meets Dominic Bright, raised almost precisely in the opposite manner, sparks fly. The contrast between the two ways these strong-minded and powerful witches grew up adds depth to the character building. Seeing the differences in how they attack a problem and come up with solutions is fun to watch. Their interactions are a sensual mating dance between two alphas. Love it.
This story is more than a romance. There is a plot that foreshadows sinister future events, which start to unfold near the end of this book. This story leans closer to the darker side of life. Where humanity tends to be less accepting and more greedy. There are other supernatural in this book but they are more to help world build than play a part in the romance or paranormal conflict.
The way the romance between Meriel and Dominic played out is different. Usually, it is the woman who is unsure. Here, it is flipped around. Dominic is the unsure one. His questions and hesitation could have caused Meriel to question herself and become belligerent. I have found that in the traditional way I have seen it, a questioning female does create an angry upset alpha male. This is where Ms. Dane once again adds her unique voice I adore. Instead of becoming defensive and frustrated, Meriel gives Dominic time and patience. She communicates and ... oh my god, actually provides him with enough information so that he can provide INFORMED consent. What a concept! If only more people in real life would be able to use Meriel's way as a role model. This is a rich romance with paranormal accouterments, and excellent character creation recommended to readers who enjoy good versus evil fights.